This was the television schedule on all three networks for the fall season beginning in September 1963.
ABC began its new fall schedule a week early, beating CBS and NBC out of the starting gate. New series debuting this week included sci-fi anthology The Outer Limits, police/lawyer series Arrest and Trial, drama The Fugitive, and game show 100 Grand. ABC also completely revamped its Friday night schedule, with three new series: detective show Burke's Law, sitcom The Farmer's Daughter, and boxing program The Fight of the Week. Fight would mark the end of boxing on network television. Boxing had debuted on network TV in 1946 and had enjoyed a run on all networks at various times, but after September 11, 1964, boxing would disappear entirely from network television.
CBS's success with rural comedies The Andy Griffith Show and The Beverly Hillbillies had convinced the network that rural sitcoms would continue to be popular. As a result, CBS president James Aubrey added what some critics described as an "endless procession of country clones [of] the wildly successful Beverly Hillbillies" to the network's schedule. Petticoat Junction, from the same producers of Hillbillies, debuted on September 24.
Westerns continued to be popular on television, and all three networks scheduled several Western series. NBC, in particular, retained a number of Westerns on its fall 1963 schedule: two returning series The Virginian and Bonanza, and new series Temple Houston, and Redigo. NBC's Western-heavy schedule would pay off, as Bonanza again became the second highest-rated TV series in the Nielsen ratings that year; The Virginian reached #17. CBS's Gunsmoke reached #20.
All times are Eastern and Pacific. New fall series are highlighted in bold. The highest-rated show for the year is colored in gold. The second highest-rated show is colored in silver. The third highest-rated show is colored in bronze. Each of the 30 highest-rated shows is listed with its (rank/rating) as determined by Nielsen Media Research.
Note: Beginning in September, CBS Evening News with Walter Cronkite (formerly Walter Cronkite with the News) and The Huntley-Brinkley Report expanded to a half hour, airing weeknights at 6:30 p.m. in most zones. However some cities (including New York City) would air them at 7:00 p.m.
↑ 1.01.11.2Castleman, Harry; Walter J. Podrazik (1982). Watching TV: Four Decades of American Television. New York: McGraw-Hill. pp. 162–170. ISBN0-07-010269-4.
↑ 2.02.1Highest-rated series is based on the annual top-rated programs list compiled by Nielsen Media Research and reported in: Brooks, Tim & Marsh, Earle (2007). The Complete Directory to Prime Time Network TV Shows (9th ed.). New York: Ballantine. ISBN 978-0-345-49773-4.